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Razer Blade 18 review: Big and pricey

Razer Blade 18 review: Big and pricey

The Razer Blade 18 is the gaming firm's biggest laptop yet. Massive, and powerful, it's no surprise that the Blade 18 carries a hefty price tag. My review set costs a whopping S$7,499, and it's not even fully decked out yet. That would be the S$8,699 version with an Intel Core i9, Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, 64GB memory and a 4TB solid-state. Is it worth it? Well, I think there are better ways to spend that cash, but if you want the bragging rights, you got to pay for it.

Quick specs

  • 18-inch 2,560 x 1,600-pixel IPS display (240Hz)
  • Intel Core i9-13950HX chip with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop graphics
  • 3x USB-A, USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, SD card reader, audio jack
  • 91.7 watt-hour battery

Razer's laptops have often taken their design cues from Apple. Hence the minimalist, unibody aluminium chassis that feels sturdy with not the slightest hint of flex. This sleek chassis, though, belies its 3.1kg weight — it's still a huge 18-inch notebook, after all. But the most obvious Apple influence has to be the Blade's oversized touchpad. It's so big that it can be frustrating to use. I often hit the wrong part of the touchpad — while trying for a left or right click — and of course, nothing happens. Despite the size of the laptop, the keyboard, which feels shallow, lacks a numeric keypad. Instead, you'll find front-facing speakers flanking the keyboard. There are six speakers altogether on the Blade, and they sound terrific, without any distortion even at maximum volume.

The Blade's best feature is its 18-inch matte display. It's bright, vivid, and as fast as it gets with a 240Hz refresh rate. Bezels are thin, which make for an immersive gaming experience, especially with the excellent audio. The laptop comes with a 5MP infrared webcam that supports facial recognition. It's definitely better than most laptop webcam — a physical shutter would have been perfect. Unlike many gaming laptops, the Blade 18 has all its connectors at the sides. You get a decent number: Three USB-A ports, two USB-C, HDMI, a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, and a SD card reader. An underrated feature: The Blade comes with a 330W GaN power adapter that's more compact than the ones included by some competitors.

The Razer Blade 18 runs warm. While that's generally true of high-end gaming laptops, the 2023 models I have tested seem better at ensuring the heat doesn't get to the user. The Blade 18 feels unbearably warm at certain spots, like the area above the keyboard. The palm rest, too, feels warm, though the keyboard is still okay. And while the Blade 18 passed (barely) the demanding 3DMark Time Spy Extreme stress test, gaming performance seemed to fluctuate due to the thermals. For instance, it produced 117fps in Watch Dogs: Legion at Ultra and 1080p resolution on the first attempt. But this dropped to 111fps in subsequent runs. It meant that the Lenovo Legion Pro 7i, despite a “slower” RTX 4080 chip, was competitive with the RTX 4090-equipped Blade. To be fair, the Razer laptop pulled ahead of the Lenovo at 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (102fps vs 94fps).

Along with its Intel Core i9 chip and RTX 4090 graphics, my Razer Blade 18 review set also comes with 32GB of memory and a 2TB SSD. It's also S$7,499, making it the most expensive gaming laptop I have tested this year. A similarly-specced Aftershock Nova 16X costs around S$5,600. In short, you're paying a significant premium for Razer's branding and design (and an extraneous extra-large touchpad). I'm also unconvinced by the Razer Blade 18's cooling system — parts of the laptop still felt very toasty. At least Aftershock offers the option of a liquid-cooling solution. But if you want something powerful, yet discreet enough for the office, the Razer Blade 18 fits the bill. It's available now from Razer, Lazada, Shopee, and Amazon SG.

See Also
Sony A7C II

Note: Review unit provided by Razer.


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